Meeting Landlords in person, and viewing INSIDE the property will avoid many scams, but NOT ALL. Scammers are using addresses which match the pictures they post, and are asking for money or deposits before you are able to meet them or view inside the property. They often get these pictures from other rental websites, builders websites, or anywhere on the internet, and masquerade as if they are the property owner/landlord. DON'T BE FOOLED! If you're serious about the property, MEET THE LANDLORD IN PERSON AND VIEW THE INSIDE OF THE PROPERTY. After making sure the property exists, and viewing INSIDE the property, verify that the landlord or property manager is who they claim to be! In some cases the property will still not belong to the person you're meeting, even when viewing inside.
Don't send money for keys. Scammers will often ask you to send a deposit to receive the keys or reserve the property for you. Again, you want to meet them at the property in person, view the INSIDE of the property, and confirm their identity before exchanging any money. Scammers may say they are in another country etc, and can only communicate by email. Often they will spend much time trying to gain your trust with lengthy emails. Use common sense here, if you send money to a stranger, your money will likely be gone forever and you will never reach them again.
Watch out for rental pricing that's too good to be true, as it usually is. In some cases we have seen properties advertised well below market value. Be very careful when you see an ad which looks to good to be true. Scammers often want to scam as many people as possible in a short period of time, so having rates below market makes this easier. Again viewing the property INSIDE, meeting the landlord face to face, and verifying their identity will help to verify the authenticity of these ads.
Be careful of ads posted on free classified ad sites. When ads can be posted for free, with only an anonymous email address, it makes it very easy for scammers to post ads. Sites that require a credit card payment to post ads, are usually better, however, scammers do also pay to post ads with bogus credit cards, so fraudulent ads do exist on all sites.
Be very suspicious if the Landlord wants cash up front. There have been cases where scammers will take numerous cash deposits from potential tenants on a property which they may have also rented with a false identity.
Never provide personal information over the internet. (social insurance number, credit card numbers etc)